Buying Green; March 2009; Scientific American Earth 3.0; by Christine Soares; 3 Page(s)
Computer energy saver
In the U.S. alone, computers that are left on while idle leave a footprint of millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year. The Ecobutton ($22) plugs into your computer¿s USB port to make power saving easy. Press the button, and the included software turns off everything in your computer except crucial memory, shrinking its power use to a mere 1.8 watts¿a much deeper sleep than standby mode. Touch the keyboard, and all programs quickly return to normal. For an intriguing extra, Ecobutton software also tracks how much you have decreased your computer¿s carbon footprint. Currently PC-compatible only.
The Sound of Music
Amplify your music using no energy at all. Science and Sons¿ Phonofone II ($500), inspired by the days of yore, boosts the sound emanating from earphones using nothing but clever acoustics, requiring no batteries or wires. The ceramic horn takes design cues from the tuba and classic Gramophone to passively amplify sound waves up to 55 decibels¿about as loud as laptop speakers. Just press play on any portable music player and place its earbuds into the Phonofone¿s earphone cradles. Expensive, yes, but perhaps a showpiece. Limited edition also available in black ($600).